December 20, 2015

[Movies] Star Wars - (6) Return of the Jedi 1983

The Return of the Jedi found me exhausted with this series. In spite of the initial excitement of watching this cultural phenomenon of a movie, I found it hard to continue sticking to my initial plan of watching all six. So, this will be my last on this series unless ‘awakened’ by the upcoming sequel of Star Wars.

Creatures and their characterization in Jabba’s island tested my patience. There were some that seemed straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, only painted in evil tones. A significant point of interest in this episode was in finding out that Darth Vader was indeed Luke Skywalker’s father and not just a ploy employed to trick Luke into turning over to the dark side. This led me to ask myself why I couldn’t see it. Anakin Skywalker was portrayed as such a great and good man that it was unthinkable for me to consider him to be this dark and destructive Darth Vader. The confirmation of this fact and the revelation of who the other 'hope' is, were the only intriguing moments in the film. Luke and Leia! Brother and sister, they turn out to be! This unraveling story of sorts becomes a circus of too many things flying all over the place.

The way Luke senses Vader’s presence and vice versa strongly reminded me of the same connection between Voldemort and Harry Potter. The faith and patience of Luke makes his father repent and turn over to the good side in the end. This stands as illustration to the religious core on which the philosophy of this series seems to stand.

There was a light moment when Yoda tells Luke, seeing him look at him curiously, in his characteristic style, ‘When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not!’ If not 900 years older, at least a little older Leia, Solo and maybe Skywalker, we shall get to see in the sequel and see for ourselves, if there isn't some truth in Yoda’s words.

After being done with this, decided just reading the plot of the prequel trilogy would do. There was one point that disturbed the flow. In the summaries of the prequel trilogy, I read that Leia and Luke’s mother dies giving birth to them. But Leia tells Luke that she remembers her mother. ‘She was beautiful, kind but sad’, she says. This jarred as a contradiction between the two trilogies! Other than this food for thought, the rest of it was about a lot of Jedi action and the story of good Anakin Skywalker becoming the evil Darth Vader. 

On the whole, the characters in the series didn’t have much depth. Perhaps, when trying to bring in all this technology that did not exist and conjure up things about space and creatures, there wasn’t time for depth. On this tangent, the protagonists of Arthur.C.Clarke’s Rama Series come to mind in recollecting the shades they had, as space travellers and how even that was in flux throughout the series. From another angle, one should admire the patience and strategy of the director to wait for more than two decades for the technology to progress to the level he wanted on the animation front, before making the prequels. This is a movie series for the tech-buffs and the animation nerds, while the rest of us are left with an empty feeling of wanting more.

Still, what is interesting about what lies ahead is that here comes a sequel after 32 years. Makes one reflect whether a movie too grows like a human being in one’s imagination. How much have we changed from what we were in 1983 to now? As a grown person, we probably ‘know’ more but do we really understand more? Isn’t it completely possible that childhood was the true period of understanding, when all this learning hadn’t corrupted our thinking? Perhaps, these parallels apply to the movie series too. That remains to be seen!

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